Saturday, April 30, 2022

Extremists Are Using Lies to Undermine America’s Public Schools:

  We Need to Take a Stand

APRIL 29, 2022 2:12 PM EDT
Randi Weingarten is President of the 1.7-million-member American Federation of Teachers and Jonah Edelman is the CEO of Stand for Children
Just as extremists have used the Big Lie about the 2020 presidential election to undermine American democracy, far-right advocates of privatizing public education are using Big Lies to undermine public schools. Supporters of public schools must see these ugly attacks for what they are and take a stand against them.
In a recent lecture at ultra-conservative Hillsdale College, culture war orchestrator Christopher Rufo detailed the strategy for replacing public education with a universal voucher system. “To get to universal school choice, you really need to operate from a premise of universal public school distrust,” Rufo explained. Earlier in that same lecture, describing how to lay siege to institutions, he noted the necessity to create your own narrative and frame and advised his audience they “have to be ruthless and brutal.”
Rufo and other dark money-funded extremists follow a consistent playbook for attacking public schools.
First, they concoct lies, smears and distortions that stoke fear and anger, such as that eight-year-old white students are being taught to hate themselves because they are responsible for slavery, and that kindergarten teachers are grooming five-year-olds.
Next, these falsehoods are spread on social media and by Fox News and the click-driven, controversy-obsessed mainstream media.
Finally, extremist state politicians champion cookie-cutter bills provided by those same national voucher backers to “solve” the manufactured “outrage,” often under the banner of “parents’ rights.”

Friday, April 22, 2022

What Russia Has Done in Ukraine _ Photos

Photojournalist Carol Guzy, a four-time Pulitzer Prize winner who has documented the humanitarian toll of some of the world’s most horrific wars and natural di... 

For those who have been convinced by Russian propaganda that the atrocities in Bucha were somehow "staged" this photo journalism from Carol Guzy might be revealing.

Whose Side Are We On? The War in Ukraine and the Crisis of the Left


By Van Gosse and Bill Fletcher, Jr.



April 19, 2022 - Whose side are we on? That is the question that anyone professing a commitment to anti-imperialism should be asking, when a sovereign nation is invaded by a Great Power.


Blinded by American Exceptionalism, however, many of the U.S. Left are not able to answer the question, and their silence speaks.


We must always oppose empire, under any heading. No nation has the right to dominate another, let alone invade and occupy it. That was the principle we as leftists affirmed in 2003, when George W. Bush led the United States into a war of aggression against Iraq.


We should state it plainly, in terms of international law. Aggressive war is the first crime of war, from which all the others flow. As the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg stated, “To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” 


Vladimir Putin has now committed this crime of war, and that is the premise from which we should analyze the crisis in Ukraine: Whose side are we on? That of the war criminals who started the war, or those who are defending their sovereignty? 


For ourselves, we are on the side of the Ukrainian people against an unprovoked war of aggression by an imperialist Great Power demonstrating in unmistakable terms what V.I. Lenin denounced as “Great Russian chauvinism.”


Here are some questions to consider.


Does Russia have “legitimate security interests” in Ukraine and other nations bordering it?

That premise has been affirmed repeatedly by various antiwar organizations, so we need to underline: states large and small have one legitimate security interest, which is to have their sovereignty respected—not to be invaded, bombed, blockaded, or subverted.


That is the limit of Russia’s security interest regarding Ukraine. It has no “legitimate interest” in dominating, controlling, or dictating policy to the states bordering it, any more than the U.S. does. Many of us have spent decades denouncing the politics of the Monroe Doctrine, what Theodore Roosevelt defined in 1904 as the U.S.’s right to “the exercise of an international police power” in the Americas, which led to military occupations all over the Caribbean and Central America between 1898 and 1934, the CIA-organized coup in Guatemala in 1954, and the invasions of Grenada in 1983 and Panama in 1989. That is what it looks like when a Great Power claims “a sphere of influence.” No one claiming to be anti-imperialist should concede any legitimacy to a Russian “sphere of influence.”


But hasn’t NATO expansion threatened Russia?


As anti-imperialists we oppose militarism in any form, including permanent military pacts, and the aggressive militarism promoted by the U.S.-led NATO alliance. The best way to protect the rights of small nations is to seek demilitarization in Europe and everywhere else. But it is utterly wrong for us to dictate to nations in Eastern Europe whether or not they join an alliance because of the concrete threat that Russia poses to their sovereignty. This is the message the Left in those countries has sent us, and we must respect it as a basic principle of internationalist solidarity. We have no more right to tell them what to do than the U.S. does to pressure or subvert the government of Canada if it chose to leave NATO and conclude a treaty of friendship with China.


Doesn’t the United States share responsibility for this war?


Like all major historical events, the war in Ukraine has many causes, and many actors were involved. Focusing on what the U.S. did or didn’t do takes the focus off who started it, and absolves Russia from its sole responsibility for initiating a war of aggression. Beyond that, it betrays an Americo-centric view of the world that is at odds with reality. The United States is no longer a world hegemon, it does not determine the course of history, and presuming its centrality makes the U.S. into an exception, standing outside and above the normal relations between states.


Shouldn’t we focus on peacekeeping by opposing all weapons transfers to Ukraine?

The Ukrainians have a right to defend their country, and that includes the right to seek aid from anywhere they see fit. It is everyone’s interest to keep this war from spreading, so we should oppose any measures, such as a no-fly zone, that would widen the zone of war across international borders and draw in more nations.


We are not pacifists. The Left should avoid confusing pacifism, as in opposition to war in any form, with anti-imperialism. We cannot stand aside and simply condemn the violence. It is in Putin’s hands to stop the war now; until then, we take the side of the Ukrainians.


[Van Gosse is a Professor of History at Franklin & Marshall College, and Co-Chair of Historians for Peace and Democracy.


Bill Fletcher, Jr. is a past president of TransAfrica Forum and a longtime trade unionist and writer.] .


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Oligarchy and Corporate Welfare in the U.S. – Sanders April 20,2022.

 Oligarchy and Corporate Welfare in the U.S. – Sanders  April 20,2022.

Today in America, the unfortunate reality is that the rich continue to get much richer while the working class is struggling to get by. 

Oligarchy and massive income and wealth inequality are on the rise. The billionaire class has seen its wealth explode during the pandemic. Meanwhile, half of our people continue to live paycheck to paycheck and the high inflation rate is making life for the working class even more difficult.

Yet in the midst of all of the crises we currently face, Congress will likely be voting next week on a bill that provides tens of billions in corporate welfare to some of the most profitable corporations and wealthiest people on the planet. This bill provides $53 billion to the profitable microchip industry with no taxpayer protections and, if you can believe it, another $10 billion to Blue Origin, a space company owned by Jeff Bezos. 

Amazon, which is owned by Bezos, is a company which, in a given year, pays nothing in federal income taxes after making billions in profits. And, by the way, in a given year Bezos has himself paid nothing in federal income taxes despite being worth nearly $200 billion.

Jeff Bezos has enough money to buy a $500 million yacht.

Jeff Bezos has enough money to buy a $23 million mansion with 25 bathrooms in Washington, D.C.

No. I do not think that the taxpayers of this country need to be providing a $10 billion bailout to Jeff Bezos to fuel his space hobby.

This upcoming legislation is related to an extremely important issue that is rarely discussed in the corporate media or on the floor of the U.S. Senate, and that is how we proceed with industrial policy in this country. 

Now, let me be clear. I believe in industrial policy. And I believe that it makes sense, in certain circumstances, for the government and the private sector to work together to address a pressing need in America. 

But industrial policy means cooperation between the government and the private sector. It does not mean the government providing massive amounts of corporate welfare to profitable corporations without getting anything in return.

In other words, will the United States government develop an industrial policy that benefits all of our society, or will we continue to have an industrial policy that benefits the wealthy and the powerful?

In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The problem is that we all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free enterprise capitalism for the poor.” I am afraid what Dr. King said 54 years ago was accurate back then, and it is even more accurate today.


Thursday, April 07, 2022

On the Sacramento Shootings : Sac Poor People's Campaign

 Statement from the Sacramento Poor People's Campaign ( Sac PPC)  regarding the Mass Shooting in Sacramento





It is with grief and concern that the Sacramento Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival learned the news that 6 people had died, and many more wounded, in downtown Sacramento in the early morning hours of Sunday, April 3, 2022. It was a chaotic scene of a conflict and gunfire after the nightclubs closed around 2 am. We know that as many as 100 shots were fired. 

 Of course, we support more effective legislation to control firearms, such as automatic weapons, but these types of laws do not reach the root causes that bring violence to our communities. The root cause of the rising violence around us is the failure of our society -- at every level of government -- to address the basic needs of our people and to end the scourge of poverty. 

 We need good schools, actually great schools, and community centers, playgrounds, sports, and opportunity -- as well as every other form of support for families. We must make sure that each and every family is economically secure, well nourished, and well housed, with access to health care. We must open the way for all to go on after high school to higher education or training so that all can experience the fulfillment of a meaningful life and work and make a contribution to society in the way that best suits them. This is the only way we can free ourselves from the stress and desperation that haunts our neighborhoods and spurs our people to turn to gun violence because they can see no other kind of life. 

 We can do this. We can heal our communities and end the culture of violence and destruction. We must invest in our communities and our people's lives. It's not a dream -- it's a vision of the future that we can make happen if we unite and work together for that moral revival that we so urgently need. Join the Poor People's Campaign as it mounts a massive campaign in Washington D. C. on June 18,2022 to make our voices heard!

 Thank you and Ashe

 Sacramento Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

Monday, April 04, 2022


The Reality Check: HONORING DOLORES HUERTA'S LEGACY: HONORING DOLORES HUERTA'S LEGACY Photoessay by David Bacon The Nation, April 2, 2022

Last fall I walked from Poplar to Delano, Calif., in honor of Larry Itliong, who started the 1965 grape strike and boycott there, with Dolores Huerta, cofounder of the United Farm Workers (UFW). She was 91 then, and I had a hard time keeping up. She sent me a note afterward that ended, "Sí Se Puede con El Rojo Tocino." It was a beautiful joke.

"Sí Se Puede" are three words we all use now, but she invented this confident way of saying "Yes We Can!" "Tocino" was the nickname the union gave me in the years I worked as an organizer-it means "bacon," my last name. And calling me "El Rojo," or "The Red," in this way honored my politics.

When I came back from a solidarity work brigade in Cuba in the 1970s, I landed in New York City with no place to sleep. I called Dolores's daughter, Lori, a friend from California. Not only did I get space on the floor of the NYC boycott's headquarters, but Dolores and her partner, Richard, César Chávez's brother, took us out to eat. Over pizza I enthused about the island. I had stars in my eyes, for both Cuba and Dolores, and still do. I went to work for the UFW as an organizer a few months later.

There was often tension in the union about radical politics, and being called a red was sometimes the route out the door. But for Dolores and Eliseo Medina, being a good organizer was the bottom line-doing what the workers needed.

Over the years, long after I had left the UFW and worked for other unions and then as a photojournalist, I would see Dolores again and again. Going to Watsonville to cover the organizing drives of strawberry workers or to Salinas for the strikes in the vegetable fields, I knew she'd be there. It was a profound experience to watch her in union contract negotiations-this diminutive woman facing off against the beefy growers across the table-and see the sense of power it gave workers.

Returning from Iraq, where I photographed workers after the 2003 US invasion, I took her picture in the front line of marchers against the war. When we were in Sacramento trying to stop the anti-immigrant, anti-affirmative-action, anti-bilingual initiatives, she was the first to speak out.

So when she called me El Rojo Tocino, I thought, "What a compliment!" I hope I live up to it.

Friday, April 01, 2022

Break the Silence - MLK

 Breaking the Silence: An Intergenerational Call for Unity and Action


April 4, 2022, is the 54th anniversary of Rev. Dr. King’s assassination, and the 55th anniversary of his historic "A Time to Break Silence" speech delivered at Riverside Church in New York City. Register to join this national webinar on Monday, April 4th at 7:15pm ET, which will include a pre-recorded reading of the speech and a live panel discussion with well-known activists hosted by a broad coalition of civil and human rights, peace, and justice organizations.

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